The Alps are broadly divided into 4 different (climate) zones.

Alpine main ridge
The main dividing line is formed by the main alpine ridge. The “Alpine main ridge” is an imaginary line formed by the highest peaks of the Alps which run from east to west and via the western Alps partly from north to south, forming a regional water and weather barrier. The areas south of the main alpine ridge drain their water to the Po and via the Drau to the Danube, the areas north of the main alpine ridge to the Rhone, Rhine and via the Inn also to the Danube.

In general, it can be stated that with northern air currents the areas south of the main alpine ridge are again favored (north Föhn) and the precipitation will mainly fall north of this (north stowage or Nordstau). With southern air currents, the areas north of the main alpine ridge are again favored (south föhn) and precipitation will fall mainly in the areas to the south (south dam or Südstau).

The areas on the border area can be influenced by both northerly and southerly air currents. These are assigned to the so-called inner-alpine areas. Due to the enormous differences and complexity in the topography and orography of the Alps, the weather can differ enormously in smallest spaces (micro climate). This applies in particular to the so-called inner Alpine areas.

Western and Eastern Alps
The western and eastern Alps are separated from each other by an imaginary dividing line that runs from Lake Constance to Lake Lugano. The areas to the west of it fall under the Western Alps, the areas to the east of it fall under the Eastern Alps.